Types of Braces

Due to technological advances in dentistry and orthodontics, patients have many choices during their treatment, including clear brackets, removable headgear, and interchangeable rubberband colors. Traditional metal braces, though, are still the most common.

Metal Braces

Made with high-grade stainless steel, metal braces are still the most commonly used in the majority of orthodontic practices. Because of advances in technology, today’s metal braces are becoming smaller and more comfortable, with a natural look and feel.

Clear Braces

Ceramic braces, commonly referred to as clear braces, are made of a translucent ceramic material. Clear braces are increasing in popularity because many patients feel they blend in closer with the natural coloring of their teeth. Although ceramic brackets are somewhat more fragile than traditional metal braces, with proper cleaning and maintenance, they are a sound alternative for metal braces.

Parts of Braces


The bands are rings of metal that fit snuggly around a patient’s molars in the back of their mouth. Bands come in different sizes to accomodate different sizes of teeth. Sealed in place with dental cement, bands help prevent decalcification during a patient’s orthondontic treatment because each band contains a level of fluoride.


A bracket is the piece that positions the archwire around all of the teeth. Each bracket has slots which are threaded by the archwire around the teeth. Brackets can either be attached directly to the patient’s tooth or attached to a band.


Archwires are the long, metal wires that are threaded through each bracket and that curve around the teeth. The archwire applies the amount of pressure to the patient’s teeth that is necessary to move the teeth into correct position.


Elastics are the tiny rubber rings, often available in a wide range of colors, that secure the archwire within the bracket. Patients can choose the color of their elastics, and they can be interchanged for new colors between appointments.


Hooks are a part of the metal bracket that actually attach the rubber bands to the brackets.

Coil Spring

When a patient experiences crowding of the teeth, the coil spring helps to gain more space. It is positioned on the archwire between two brackets and can help exert pressure necessary to push apart teeth that are crowding.